12 South Avenue,
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Originally opened in 1903, on South Avenue, the New Bradford Theatre could seat about 1200, and was designed by architect Leon Lempert, Sr. The Bradford was for its first couple decades of operation, a venue for live performances, including legitimate theater, musicals, opera, and lectures.
In 1922, the theater was taken over by Buffalo, New York-based Shea’s and renamed Shea’s Theatre. Along with movies, the theater continued to host live acts on stage, including appearances by such stars as Ethel Barrymore, Boris Karloff, Harry Blackstone, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Sally Rand.
The Shea’s was later acquired by the Dipson Theatres chain, which operated it into the late 50s when it was sold to the Bradford Parking Authority and razed in 1961 to make way for a parking lot.
When a movie house was opened in the 1931 Hooker-Fulton Building in 1935, it carried on the name of the former Bradford Theatre by opening as the New Bradford Theatre (it’s still open today, as the Main Street Movie House).
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